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advanced cannabis growing

Cannabis is one of today’s hottest and most lucrative crops. There is increasing interest in the U.S. about growing Cannabis as a recreational crop, and also medical usefulness of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD).

Horticulture of Cannabis Summer Courses

Students will develop a full understanding of the production methods of cannabis in addition to postproduction methods. Aspects of the industry will also be included to provide information about extraction, end products, jobs and current research within the cannabis industry. The organization of this course allows students to be able to choose their own progression through the course to allow for individual paths that will provide advanced level details. Students will be able to select starting plants from clones or seeds and if they plan on growing indoors or outdoors. Each student’s directed path through the course allows for a deeper understanding of the topics which are of greatest interest to the students that are connected with scientific research supported information. Job opportunities related to growing as well as other careers involved with the industry will be provided.

Introduction to the Horticulture of Cannabis: Seed to Harvest

Concerning costs for each 3-credit Cannabis Horticulture course:

Advanced cannabis growing

Although many small-scale cannabis growers at first questioned the need for intensive product testing, most can now appreciate the benefits that the rules bring to the market. “People see the need for quality control and testing,” says James. “It brings a legitimacy to the industry that hasn’t always been there.”

Zheng’s laboratory is one of many that are working with cannabis producers to support and guide this effort. He is studying how the amount and wavelength of light used in growing can affect the plant’s cannabinoid composition. Increasing the amount of ultraviolet light, for example, can increase levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis. “We want to create a lighting recipe which will help producers get a consistent product,” he says.

In Canada, government regulations require producers to use an independent lab to measure the level of cannabinoid in dried cannabis flowers and oils so that the resulting products can be labelled appropriately. Producers must also test for contaminants such as the bacterium Escherichia coli, mould, heavy metals and 96 types of pesticide. When edible cannabis products become legal in Canada later this year, they will face similarly stringent rules, says Purcell; labels on such products will have to convey the same nutritional information as do those on any other food product. In the United States, the regulations are broadly similar to those in Canada. But each US state where medical or recreational cannabis is legal sets its own testing regime — and those requirements can vary widely and change quickly. “In Delaware, the regulations are now totally different than two years ago,” says Marcu.

A2LA is also helping labs to attain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, the main international standard for testing and calibration labs. It covers all phases of lab operation, including staff training, data protection and dealing with conflicts of interest.

Testing, testing

Cannabis companies are quickly adopting techniques and technologies that were pioneered by commercial agriculture and horticulturalists. Organigram, a cannabis producer in Moncton, Canada, stringently controls its growing operations, says Jeff Purcell, vice-president of operations. “The growing environment is standardized, and we have full control over the air, light, temperature and fertilizer,” he says. “It’s all highly automated and computer controlled.”

Although small-scale growers of illicit cannabis can get away with vague descriptions of strains and considerable variation between batches, commercial producers have to meet the same standards as they would for other consumer products. They need to produce a reliable product and follow the stringent rules and regulations that apply to product labelling and safety in their country.

Besides the challenges of growing a sufficient amount of high-quality cannabis for a rapidly growing market, cannabis companies have to deal with something that illegal growers do not — government regulation.

“As the industry has gotten bigger, they realized they must transition to use modern horticultural science,” says Youbin Zheng, a horticulture researcher at the University of Guelph, Canada, who works with cannabis companies.

But as legal medical — and increasingly, recreational — cannabis becomes more widespread, the cannabis industry is becoming more professional. By adopting the methods and rigour of plant science and analytical chemistry, it is ensuring that it can produce safe, consistent and high-quality products for a fast-growing and lucrative market.

Advanced cannabis growing

You ready?

1. Topping

Check out THIS Video to see a lollipopping tutorial (skip to 7:45 for the lollipoping process!)

5. Monster Cropping

Now to the big question – how does fimming work?